December 18, 2014


FYI: This might not make sense. Work with me.

I've been going through an Advent devotional by John Piper this season, and today's reading would have knocked me over if I hadn't already been sitting down.

"“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18)
Christmas is a model for missions. Missions is a mirror of Christmas. As I, so you.
For example, danger. Christ came to his own and his own received him not. So you. They plotted against him. So you. He had no permanent home. So you. They trumped up false charges against him. So you. They whipped and mocked him. So you. He died after three years of ministry. So you.
But there is a worse danger than any of these which Jesus escaped. So you!!
In the mid-16th century Francis Xavier (1506–1552), a Catholic missionary, wrote to Father Perez of Malacca (today part of Indonesia) about the perils of his mission to China. He said,
The danger of all dangers would be to lose trust and confidence in the mercy of God. . . To distrust him would be a far more terrible thing than any physical evil which all the enemies of God put together could inflict on us, for without God’s permission neither the devils nor their human ministers could hinder us in the slightest degree.
The greatest danger a missionary faces is to distrust the mercy of God. If that danger is avoided, then all other dangers lose their sting.
God makes every dagger a scepter in our hand. As J.W. Alexander says, “Each instant of present labor is to be graciously repaid with a million ages of glory.”
Christ escaped the danger of distrust. Therefore God has highly exalted him!
Remember this Advent that Christmas is a model for missions. As I, so you. And that mission means danger. And that the greatest danger is distrusting God’s mercy. Succumb to this and all is lost. Conquer here and nothing can harm you for a million ages."

I am sleep deprived to the Nth degree. This last while has been a repeating pattern where I get out of bed, again, go in and scoop up my screaming littlest, again, and cry quietly while I rock or feed him till he falls asleep, again. And a lot of times, while I am sitting in my chair putting my baby back to sleep I inwardly argue with and cajole God and dis-trust his mercy and goodness. I mean, the longest stretch of sleep I've had in months is around 4 hours, and that's the exception, the usual is usually closer to 1 1/2 - 2. All. Night. Long. Every. Night. For 11 months. I have never been so tired before in my life.

 And so I sit in my chair feeling broken and crushed. Doesn't God know that sleep deprivation is a form of torture?! Hasn't he read about how not getting enough sleep is exceptionally bad for your emotional, mental, and physical well being? Not getting enough sleep can literally make a person insane. It feels like a mean joke that God wants me to be an obedient human being while being deprived of the means to function at a basic level.
 So I dis-trust his mercy. It is so much easier to dis-trust than to believe that He loves me, cares for me, and is working this season of exhaustion for my good.

 But today's reading reminded me, I am on mission. My mission field in this house, with these people who need me, and this mission is hard. But I'm not dead yet. It is by God's mercy that breath continues to enter my lungs, and that blood continues to be pumped through my heart. That my children and my husband are all alive and here. And it is only by God's mercy that I will be able to see these mercies, to know that they *are* mercies, and be able to keep trusting in His mercy. And God and his mercy are ever-all-present. There is no getting away.